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Today's Reading
March 16

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Pastor’s Note

In Mark 15 Jesus recites the words of Psalm 22 as he is being crucified. Christ is echoing this important psalm and not crafting a question to which he doesn’t know the answer. Christ knows that he is the Lamb of God and that he is incurring the penalty for our sins as our substitute. And yet he is joining in with the pain of the psalmist in Psalm 22. Our salvation was costly. Let us live today as though it is.

— Pastor Mike

Deuteronomy 28

Blessings for Obedience

28:1 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. 11 And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. 12 The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. 13 And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lordyour God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, 14 and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

Curses for Disobedience

15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. 16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

20 “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. 21 The Lord will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought [1] and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. 23 And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. 24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.

25 “The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth. 26 And your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away. 27 The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed. 28 The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of mind, 29 and you shall grope at noonday, as the blind grope in darkness, and you shall not prosper in your ways. [2] And you shall be only oppressed and robbed continually, and there shall be no one to help you. 30 You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall ravish her. You shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it. You shall plant a vineyard, but you shall not enjoy its fruit. 31 Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat any of it. Your donkey shall be seized before your face, but shall not be restored to you. Your sheep shall be given to your enemies, but there shall be no one to help you. 32 Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all day long, but you shall be helpless. 33 A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually, 34 so that you are driven mad by the sights that your eyes see. 35 The Lord will strike you on the knees and on the legs with grievous boils of which you cannot be healed, from the sole of your foot to the crown of your head.

36 “The Lord will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone. 37 And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the Lord will lead you away. 38 You shall carry much seed into the field and shall gather in little, for the locust shall consume it. 39 You shall plant vineyards and dress them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm shall eat them. 40 You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives shall drop off. 41 You shall father sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours, for they shall go into captivity. 42 The cricket [3] shall possess all your trees and the fruit of your ground. 43 The sojourner who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, and you shall not lend to him. He shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.

45 “All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you. 46 They shall be a sign and a wonder against you and your offspring forever. 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you. 49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, 50 a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young. 51 It shall eat the offspring of your cattle and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed; it also shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish.

52 “They shall besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you. 53 And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you. 54 The man who is the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces, [4]and to the last of the children whom he has left, 55 so that he will not give to any of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because he has nothing else left, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your towns. 56 The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, [5] to her son and to her daughter, 57 her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns.

58 “If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the Lord your God, 59 then the Lord will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting. 60 And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61 Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the Lord will bring upon you, until you are destroyed. 62 Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God. 63 And as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

64 “And the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. 65 And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the Lord will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you shall say, ‘If only it were morning!’ because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and the sights that your eyes shall see. 68 And the Lord will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey that I promised that you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer.”

Mark 15:27-47

27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. [6] 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

The Death of Jesus

33 And when the sixth hour [7] had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. [8] 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he [9] breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son [10] of God!”

40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Jesus Is Buried

42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. [11] And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph [12] bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

Footnotes

[1] 28:22 Or sword
[2] 28:29 Or shall not succeed in finding your ways
[3] 28:42 Identity uncertain
[4] 28:54 Hebrew the wife of his bosom
[5] 28:56 Hebrew the husband of her bosom
[6] 15:27 Some manuscripts insert verse 28: And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “He was numbered with the transgressors”
[7] 15:33 That is, noon
[8] 15:33 That is, 3 p.m.
[9] 15:39 Some manuscripts insert cried out and
[10] 15:39 Or a son
[11] 15:44 Or Pilate wondered whether he had already died
[12] 15:46 Greek he

  • Beth Metcalf

    And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way hebreathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:34.39 (God forsook his Son, in order to save. The good news is that Jesus rose as he promised! I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:1-4 Thank you Lord, for not forsaking us!)

    • CheriClark

      Grateful that because of the work of Jesus on the cross God will never forsake me.

  • Anne Ventura

    Mark 15:39

    9 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

    Lord, that you bore my sin, that you endured the pain my sin yields, is love and obedience beyond human understanding. My heart was opened 22 years ago and you worked a mighty work in me. I say everyday Lord, Why Me? Why did you choose me? I am blessed and indebted beyond what my mouth can say, but my heart feels. “Thou you have not seen Him you Love Him” 1 Peter 1:8. May I live my life indebted to you Lord.

    • CheriClark

      Because of His love for us He saved us. May we live with that reminder every day.

  • Rose White

    28:1 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 

    15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. 

    What a stark contrast between obedience to God and choosing to be disobedient to God. Lord, help me with all that I am to obey your commands.

    • CheriClark

      Yes, Lord, help me to obey!

  • CheriClark

    OT
    Deut 28:2 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.

    Then: God promises blessings if the Israelites obey Him.

    Always: As children of God, we are blessed.

    Now: So we have a choice – we can obey God can or we cannot. If we don’t obey Him there will be consequences. If we are not His children there will be eternity in Hell. So we can choose to live without God in this life and then we have chosen to live without Him for eternity. If we are His children we need to be careful to do all that He commands (v1). And if we do there will be blessings. We are blessed because we will spend eternity with Him in a glorified body with no pain and suffering. We are blessed by the many, many material things that we have. We are blessed by His love and guidance as we maneuver this world. We are blessed by His Word which gives is our guidebook. We are blessed by the Spirit which convicts us of the sin in our life and leads us in the correct way. Oh Lord, I desire to follow Your ways. I want to obey You. Help me to do that every day. Thank You for all Your many blessings to me.

    NT
    Mark 15:34 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

    Then: Jesus, cries out to God. He knows what is to come and why and yet He does it all for me.

    Always: God will never forsake us.

    Now: What sad words those are. But- but- praise the Lord, God will never forsake me. He who abandoned His own Son will not abandon me. Jesus paid that penalty for me. He endured the separation from His Father so that I never would have to. He endured the cross to pay my penalty for my sins. He endured the wrath of God to give me eternity with Him. He rose from the dead so that I might live eternity in Heaven. Neither sin nor death has any claim on me. Sad words but but ones that give so much promise. Sad words but ones that lead to so much good. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude to Him. My heart is in disbelief that He would do this for me. My heart is in awe of the love of my Savior for me.

  • Karen Chien

    63 And as the Lord took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

    The passages above talked about the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience. The blessings God laid out seemed like everything anyone could ever desire or want. From food to family to position and honor and prosperity with land and spiritual well being…. if only one does what the Lord has commanded. And the opposite will be the result for disobedience which seemed like a description of what hell would be like but on a smaller scale. The Lord is an unchanging God who desires all His people to be right with Him and to live a life of obedience so He could bless us with His amazing riches. However God is also a just God who has to punish the disobedient (ruin and destroy) and to those who are not right with Him because He is a just and fair God. May I continue to pursue holiness and to live obediently to the Lord so that I may be pleasing and honoring the Lord my God.

    —————-
    30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

    Jesus was reviled, mocked, scorned, made fun of, humiliated and place in such a lowly disrespectful position. When I read the words “He saved others; he cannot save himself” it pained my heart because Jesus was God. Of course He could have saved Himself but because He had to finish his mission, He had to finish suffering to death to be able to conquer sin and to resurrect from the dead. There are so many times that I’ve wanted justice to be served right away and to show people they are in wrong but God has His timing abs He said “vengeance is mine.” It’s sad when people want to follow their own ways and not follow the One True God to have salvation in Christ … but we cannot change people’s heart, only God. He is God and I am not. God is sovereign over all things. He has His holy character that does not change over time. May I rest in His unchanging name.

    My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus blood and righteousness
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame
    But wholly trust in Jesus name

    Christ alone; cornerstone
    Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
    Through the storm, He is Lord
    Lord of all

    • CheriClark

      May we realize the great cost to Jesus that our salvation was and live lives that reflect our unending gratitude every day.

  • NonieS

    Deuteronomy 28

    1 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.

    God is talking to the Israelites here; but it also applys to those of us grafted into the Abrahamic covenant. If we faithfully obey our Lord, we will receive His blessings.

    Mark 15

    37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

    The centurian believed. I wonder how many others also believed that day. Especially when they saw that the heavy curtain, in the temple, was torn in two from top to bottom. I am so thankful for what my Lord did for me that day. As we approach Easter Sunday, when we celebrate that He arose from the dead, may we be thankful and share with others, this Good News. Maranatha!!

    • CheriClark

      May we be sharing this Good News to those who so desperately need it.

  • RyanDamato

    Deuteronomy 28-
    28 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.

    The first verse of the readings today start a section of 14 verses that show the love of the Lord and his blessings to those who obey his voice. The promises in obedience are far less detailed than those of disobedience which load the rest of the chapter but the blessing behind them are far less deserved and way more rewarding.
    We need to have a high view of God and it starts with obedience to his word. Christians should never sway from learning, knowing and obeying the commands he’s laid out for us.
    Thank you, God, for your incredible promises and rewards for a life of obedience and love. I pray that I yearn for holiness and the blessing associated with it. When I mess up, I pray that you will turn my thoughts first toward repentance and a recognition of what I’ve done and why. I pray that you help me to put it behind me, be ready for discipline, own it and move forward in your loving word.

    Mark 15-
    33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

    As Jesus hung there on the cross to fulfill the prophetic word of God and to atone for the sins of the world, he continued to change the hearts and futures of on lookers. The events that surrounded the death of Jesus would fulfill great symbolism and prophecy from OT passages. Exod 26:31–37,

    Love this commentary out the Pillar New Testament series:
    37–39 The NIV places the death of Jesus in 15:37 into a paragraph by itself. The theology of Mark, however, would place it at the beginning of vv. 37–39, for Jesus’ death is not a terminus but the cause of two exceptional events: the tearing of the temple curtain (v. 38) and the confession of the centurion (v. 39). These two events signify that the death of the suffering Son of God is not a tragic end but an event of divine fulfillment and revelation.

    The death of Jesus should cause his children to praise him and honor him and do everything in their power to live for him every moment of every day. We should reflect upon this and see the salvation that comes through this event and we should honor him with every bit of our lives.
    The death of Jesus is the single most emotional section of scripture for me and it causes me to constantly give him praise for what he went through for MY sin. I can’t thank the Lord enough for his purpose and obedience in the painful death to atone for my sin.

    Lord-May my life bring you glory and honor and praise for your incredible sacrifice and may the model of your life remain my goal for living in this world until the day that I am home with you!

    • CheriClark

      Thank you for sharing the commentary. Words to ponder.

  • Alyssa Cuccia

    Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life.
    Deuteronomy 28:66

    This verse points out one of the natural consequences of sin: doubt. Anyone who is in sin will have no assurance of eternity with Christ unless it is false assurance/hope. And even as a Christian, it is possible to be caught in sin and therefore left doubting whether or not you are truly saved (which is a horrible place to be!). But all of this can be avoided if we are simply obedient to the commands of God! I love Deuteronomy 28 because it shows the appeal of obedience and the distress and turmoil that comes from disobedience. Obedience is worth it! Not only because it brings joy and peace and glory to our Heavely Father, but also because it leaves us with a surety that we would not otherwise have–a surety that the Spirit does truly dwell in us and that we will one day inherit the Kingdom of God! To me, that makes obedience worth pursuing.

    • CheriClark

      May we pursue obedience,

  • Sam Funk

    Deut 28:66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life.

    After reading the blessings and the curses, a person back then would have been a fool not to obey the Lord. However, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

    Mark 15:37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

    Thank you Lord Jesus for being so loving and willing to take upon yourself our sins! Whatever took place must have been miraculous based on this account. Those in the temple must have shuddered after seeing the veil torn. What greater sign could there have been? Only the Lord could have done that.

  • Stephanie Schwartz

    Mark 15:34
    And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

    Who can fathom the anguish Jesus experienced on the cross in order to reconcile us to the Father? Lord Jesus, help me to not be a coward today. Help me to always remember what you did on my behalf.

    • CheriClark

      When we ponder what He endured for us may it cause us to worship and love Him even more.

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